Double A’s and an F … February 17, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Bill MaherYou can’t be a good believer unless you first discover what kind of atheist you would be. And while you’re at it, it’s a good idea to figure out how you would choose to live if you were an agnostic. Two A’s and an F — atheist, agnostic and faith.face of Ricky Gervais

Since none of us know for sure what’s going to happen after we suck our last, it’s a good idea to put greater value on your human life than you do your eternal life.

I know this statement would upset about ninety percent of the Christian community, but it doesn’t make it any less important to share.

Billy GrahamI am a person of faith–not because I’m afraid of what might happen if I weren’t.

I don’t pursue devotion to God because I’m superstitious or want to cover all of my bases.

No, it’s because I have decided what life I would choose to honor if I were an atheist. So if there were no God, what would my three essentials be, determining my essence? I would have to:

  1. Learn to love people.
  2. Learn to respect my life and the value it has, both in limited time and in the distribution of the wealth of my gifts.
  3. Be merciful.

Likewise, if I believe there is some sort of God, but think He or She has taken a permanent vacation, rendering me an agnostic, what kind of journey would I choose?

  1. Learn to deal with people knowing that they never go away.
  2. Take care of myself, but also not come across as unfeeling to the needs of others.
  3. Learn the art of forgiveness.

So in like manner, if I’m going to be a believer in an Eternal Creator, what are the three things that define my trinity of precepts?

  1. I’m told that if I don’t love people, then my love for God is built on a false premise.
  2. I’m instructed that if I give, it shall be given unto me.
  3. I get mercy, released for my inadequacies, by the amount of mercy I give to others, and I am judged in like manner.

You see, when you look at it from that perspective, whether you’re Bill Maher, an atheist, or Ricky Gervais, who considers himself to bounce between agnostic and atheist, or Billy Graham, who is the face of the faith crowd–when it comes to human life, you’re left with the same basic alternatives.

I guess as long as you can escape the ridiculous traditions of religion, it might be nice to believe in God just in case the heaven thing turns out not to be hype.

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Friends With Benefits… October 14, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2036)

I do believe she was a little peeved with me, even though her cordiality remained intact during our entire exchange.

She questioned an assertion I had made during my presentation, about Jesus wanting to make us all “look good.” The premise of my statement was based on the feeding of the five thousand, when the disciples were unable to muster either courage or faith for the experience, but Jesus granted them a tender leniency and came up with a plan to involve them–even though at first they were reluctant participants.

She said she was baffled at the notion that Jesus would want to make anyone “look good.” I think she believed that being the son of God, he had an agenda of a divine nature which superseded all temporary relationships or slack that one might cut to a companion during a weaker moment.

I was sympathetic. I understand that our religious system conveys that God stomps around heaven, frustrated that His will is not being done. Unfortunately, I could never worship such a Being. Why would I be interested in a God who is not as friendly to me, sensitive to me or as willing to adjust to me as one of my friends?

If He truly has the power of being all-knowing, why can’t He know that sometimes I’m weak without being angry about it? And on those occasions, I could really use Him to be tender instead of full of commandments and wrath.

Yes, I believe that Jesus came to earth so that we would understand that our relationship with God is “friends with benefits.”

Not only do we gain a friend who is our Father, our Companion, and our Giver of grace, but the story also tells us that at the end of this excursion of relationship, we get to go to heaven.

Why would I worship a God who does not want to make me look good, but is so intent on His own mission that He doesn’t even take a second to factor in my frailties?

I shared this with her but I don’t think she was convinced. Some folks need a God of rigorous principle, so that by toeing the line they can feel empowered. And when they fall short they can fearfully repent, hoping to achieve His mercy.

Honestly, if that’s the way God really is, I am literally in a helluva lot of trouble.imaginary friend

Bill Maher often jokes that people who believe in God are just pursuing an “imaginary friend.” Okay, let’s play along.

What if He IS an imaginary friend? At least He’s a friend, right? He’s not out to smite me with fire and brimstone, decimating my house for all generations. And considering the fact that the average therapist costs somewhere between $150 and $10000 an hour, it is certainly a cost-saver to have an imaginary friend to listen to your lamentations.

Also, if He ends up being imaginary, what did I lose? So I die and find out there’s nothing. Of course, I jest, because I wouldn’t even find out, would I?

On the other hand, if it does end up being some rendition of what I believe, then I get to meet the Person who understood every step of my journey, relished my foibles by showing His wisdom to my betterment, and stayed closer than a brother.

Perhaps my Friend is imaginary. I don’t think so–but I do know this: He is a Friend.

And as a Friend … He is intent on making me look good.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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Our Father, Who ART … April 28, 2012

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God worries me.

I mean, after all the years of Him fidgeting over my foibles, maybe it’s my turn to do a little worrying. What worries me about God is that in an attempt to keep free will intact and faith functioning, He puts promotion of His concepts and even His identity into some pretty pitiful hands. So what really troubles me is that I am asked to believe in some One or some Thing that is so ill-defined that the minute I try to concretely establish my devotion in a particular direction, one of these “authorities” will step in and tell me that I am erred in my assertion.

There is no doubt about it–God definitely needs a better public relations firm to represent Him.

Because some people portray His Holiness as being a business man–“business as usual.” “How’s the corporation of the universe coming along?” “Let’s take a look at the bottom line.” “We’ll be able to increase profits if we lay off a few people, send a typhoon and eliminate the competition.” Am I the only one who has trouble envisioning Our Father as Donald Trump? Do I really want to worship some CEO who’s always plotting whether it’s time to fire me?

Then there are others who would lead you to believe that God’s a politician. Matter of fact, I think they would insist that He’s opened up some branch office of heaven right outside Washington, D.C., near the Beltway. So the minute you think you know what His position is on some particular issue, it may change to gain a political advantage over His enemy, who is obviously anyone who is not conservative–or wait a minute–that could be liberal. So even though I want to be extended grace, I want it because I did fall short of a great ideal and need to repent–not because I’ve been deemed to be in an adversarial party or because some deal has been struck in the back room of a committee, changing the rules. I don’t want God to be a businessman, and I certainly don’t want Him to be a politician.

A preacher?? Do I really want to believe that Our Father is religious? I think of the religious people I’ve known in my life–and many of them have had attributes of generosity, kindness and purity, but with that has come an extremely grumpy side–prone to being judgmental. I can’t afford Our Father to be judgmental. I don’t want to live in a household that wants me to cry over spilled milk. And I don’t want to believe the Ten Commandments dictate whether I will be loved on any particular day. I really don’t appreciate my whole life being broken down to an anecdote followed by three points with a closing benediction.

But on the other hand, I don’t want Him to be a doting daddy. I don’t need to imagine Our Father walking around heaven showing the angels the latest pictures of me on my vacation in Virginia Beach. I do hope there’s no room in glory where every trophy, blue ribbon and A+ I ever received on a paper is on display. I need more than that–more than confirmation that everything I do is all right, or condemnation that everything I do is less than acceptable.

I think there are folks who think that Our Father is nothing more than a manufacturer–kind of like He had this great idea for a new universe, put it together, started to market it, lost interest and is now just looking for someone to purchase it so He can unload the problem. I do not want to believe that I don’t matter. In my more generous moments, I don’t want to believe that YOU don’t matter.

Likewise, I would not want to go along with the folks who insist that God is a great scientist. Is it really all just an experiment? Are we just specimens, brought in to test new products? In other words, is one lab rat just as good as another? Is He looking for answers at the bottom of a test tube? Or is He really interested in all of my inward parts?

I’ve gone up and down the list of possibilities of what God might be like–paralleling the avocations and occupations of our earth–and at the end of my search, I’ve only come up with one acceptable, pleasing alternative:

Our Father, who ART…

That’s it. God is ART. He’s an artist. There it was, all the time, buried in that Lord’s Prayer–and we thought it was just a transitional verb.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? What do we know about artists?

  • They’re always trying to create something. Doesn’t that sound like God?
  • They’re willing to evolve. Hell-o?? You see what I mean?
  • They’re looking for beauty in everything, including a pile of trash, which they turn into performance art. That’s me, baby!
  • They’re a little Bohemian–not stuffy and staunch, like Aunt Mabel following Sunday services.
  • They’re interested in other people’s creative ventures.
  • They always believe there’s something that could be done from scratch to make things enlightened.
  • They are struggling. Don’t you want to have a God who is still trying to find ways to improve the situation?
  • And they are neither liberal nor conservative, just … thinking. If thinking is against the law of any organization, you probably shouldn’t join.

God is an artist. That’s it! He would like to make a profit, like a businessman, but if He doesn’t, He’ll open up another can of tuna. He’s willing to enter the political world to try to get his art more recognition–but as long as a little child stops, stares and smiles, He’s pleased. He wants to proclaim the great joy of birthing a new, glorious project, but doesn’t sit around and criticize others who don’t catch the vision. He dotes a bit over His creations, but also is very well aware of the place where a little bit more blue would have been preferable to the moss green. He is a manufacturer, but resents the notion that any one of His creations could be exactly duplicated on an assembly line. And He has a process–a faithful of procuring of the energy from within His soul to produce His art–but He wouldn’t call it a formula, like a scientist does.

There you go.

I feel so much better. I don’t have to worry about God anymore. It was especially becoming distressing to me in this day and age, when atheists and agnostics are beginning to arrive in more attractive packages. When I grew up the only recognizable atheist was Madeline Murray O’Hare, who greatly resembled the witch who ate Hansel and Gretel. But now we have comedians, actors, politicians and cool people denying “Our Father.” All you have to do to get the best parts of a Creator is remove all the worst parts of promoting Him. I would tell Bill Maher that our world is better with Our Father.

I don’t need religion–which brings in the businessman, the politician, the preacher, the daddy, the manufacturer or the scientist. I do require Our Father, who ART. I want a friend who likes to make things from scratch and proudly display them as part of His own soul. I want a beatnik Creator–so that at some point, after I’ve shed this mortal frame, I can greet Him, give Him some skin and say: “Cool, Daddy-o.”

*******

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Culture Joys… April 19, 2012

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There were about a hundred people in the restaurant.

I was sitting there enjoying my dinner and the ambiance of the human simmering of conversation when I realized that Janet and I were the only two people of European extraction in the room. It was remarkable. It was actually quite wonderful.

Since arriving in California I have become more aware of culturalism–because California has done a great job to provide for us as a nation a human relief map of what our entire country will look like in thirty years. The United States should NEVER have been just white. After all, our whole concept was openness, acceptance and the encouragement of immigration.

But we started our segregating the Native Americans were to be segregated because…well, basically because they were in the way. We had some strange, abiding belief that black people picked cotton more easily than our white children. It might have been all right if we had treated our cotton pickers with some kindness, but apparently white supremacy goes deep into the genetic fabric of paler brothers and sisters. And when it wasn’t skin color it was nationality and when it wasn’t nationality it was religion and when it wasn’t religion it was gender and when it wasn’t gender it was sexual orientation and when it wasn’t sexual orientation, it has even come down to assessing people based on if they voted for Ronald Reagan.

Something had to come along and stop this–or God was going to sneeze and just blow us all away. May I be the first–or at least the second–to say there ARE no culture wars? There may be cultural ignorance, but it should be turned into culture joys. There is a giddiness that comes into the human heart when we finally abandon our childish prejudices to become true men and women of Planet Earth.

Last night I was delighted to perform in front of a Samoan congregation. Candidly, they stared at me a bit when they realized they had scheduled in someone of lesser-Island-experience. But it didn’t matter. By the time the evening was done, we were brothers and sisters. My only lament was that the Samoans love to eat, and since I have been on a limited food regimen of late, the temptations they offered on their banquet table after the presentation were nearly inescapable. But I was able to restrain and eat sensibly.

But back to the culture wars, which I will tell you should be the culture joys … if you’re getting sucked up into the hidden agendas of bigotry under the guise of immigration, entitlement programs and just general fussiness about human-kind, may I suggest that you consider this four-step process to turn your wars into joys? Last night, when I looked out at that audience, I thought to myself:

1. We share so much in common that it will be fun to explore our differences. It’s not the other way around–it’s not that we’re so different that we need to explore our commonalities. I have been with people of every culture, and the basic need for humor, heart, soul, thinking and nourishment is present within each.

2. NoOne is better than anyone else, which means NoOne is worse than anyone else. It also means that NoOne is more colorful than anyone else and includes that NoOne is smarter than anyone else, which certainly leads to NoOne is dumber than anyone else.

3. No teachers. All students. One of the more ridiculous aspects of culture wars is the notion that certain races of people have been given an advantage in arenas of life, and for that purpose they’ve been placed in the world to teach. It’s just ridiculous. We’re all students. The minute you start thinking that you’re a teacher of humanity, your sheer arrogance will forbid anyone from receiving your message. Just sitting down in front of those lovely folks and sharing my little dab of talent last night, I felt no need to be the boss or the brilliant of the night. I learned as much from them as they learned from me, because we were all in the classroom.

4.  And finally, understanding is something that people need to give to us–never anything we  can demand. I don’t know what the answer is to immigration, but I do know two things: (a) you can’t stop it; and (b) since you can’t stop it, find a way to make it profitable. It reminds me of the first person who looked at Niagara Falls and said, “We need to find a way to put that water to work.” The next thing you know, we got electricity.  You can either look at the immigration question and say, “We need to close our borders,” or you can say, “Since our borders are open, how can we channel this energy to make America more productive?”

Beware of those who believe in a culture war. There is no culture war–just a lot of people pushing and shoving to prove they’re supreme over one another. I have perched myself in California in the middle of a human smorgasbord–and brought my fork and spoon. I am prepared to be a part of the culture joys.

Because you can try to fight against nature, but Mother Nature always has a way of spanking her unruly children.

**************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

To Freak the Meek… April 18, 2012

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A philosophy is not a collection of ideas we would pursue if the world were a better place. A philosophy is a lifestyle we live because the world is NOT a better place.

The meek shall inherit the earth.” It is not a wish or a whim. The meek are those individuals who are left standing at the end of each and every day after the rest of the inhabitants of the planet ridicules, bloodies and murders one another. We proclaim we’re against bullying, yet we insist that aggressive behavior is rewarded with benefit.

Let’s get something straight. There are no human beings who are naturally passive. None. All of us have two festering fragments of fussiness rattling around in our brains all the time, ready to spew venom when given the exact amount of provocation. (a) “I don’t want you in my face;” and (b) “I don’t need you in my space.”

With that in mind, I am often amazed that there aren’t more fights, wars, deaths and destruction. The natural human being does show some restraint, however–otherwise there would just be a silent planet littered with corpses. So how can we change restraint into resolve? Restraint is what we do when we’re trying to be noble, biting our lip the whole time to keep from flying off the handle. Resolve is a secret we have which feeds us with the patience to know that our path will take us to success.

Christianity has failed because its basic principle of “love your neighbor as yourself” has now been traded back into the spiritual pawn shop to retrieve an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” What set Jesus apart from the rest of religion is now considered to be a “nice idea”–but a failed project. It’s because we will not recognize the enemies–there are two of them. The enemies of the meek are conservatives and liberals. While we jockey in this country to see which party is going to take authority over our government, we fail to understand that both of them are poison to human progress.

“The meek shall inherit the earth”–as long as they don’t insist on being either conservative or liberal. The meek win because they DO love their neighbor as themselves and they reject the conservatives and liberals, who in their own ways, protest such a notion.

If you decide to stop fighting against life and God and the planet around you, the conservatives will be very upset with you. All conservatives everywhere desire an enemy. It is not an enemy they wish to love, but rather, target–blaming this entity for all the foulness on the planet. He is often embodied in the personage of Lucifer–the devil–or just “darkness.” So every conservative is constantly trying to find little pieces of that evil in everyone they meet, or create fellowship with other conservatives based upon the notion that such a singular, nefarious force exists. Just talk in front of a group of conservative people and tell them that the worst devil lives inside of them. You will soon find that they will do what conservatives always do, which is find means to attack your character. The reason we need the meek is because conservatives use the personal attack and it takes someone of great fortitude, insight, humor and gentleness to walk away from the lies instead of retaliating.

Liberals, on the other hand, don’t care much about whether your character matches up with theirs or not. They refer to that as diversity. They think they’re better than conservatives because they’re more open in their acceptance of others–except in one area. They expect you to embrace knowledge as the ultimate solution to all of mankind’s problems. In other words, what we lack is education. (This is certainly proven by the fact that college campuses tend to be great centers of compassion, human understanding and discovery of ways to get along–rather than party schools, sources of over-indulgence and prideful oracles of accumulated information.) Yes, a liberal will attack your lack of education or intelligence, or try to find a way of proving that you’re against knowledge. So some conservative commentator like Sean Hannity will cast a jaundiced eye towards a liberal based upon his approval of an unacceptable, perceived evil behavior, while a Bill Maher, on the other hand, will make fun of spiritual people because they hold fast to “Bible stories,” trying to make them look like country bumpkins or imbeciles.

What is the job of the meek? Refrain from the insane. 

If you find a crowd of people rallying behind something, I will guarantee you their cause is already out-dated or ill-founded. The heart of God is always a still, small voice–whispered in your ear rather than shouted from the holy hills of Jerusalem.

What can I do to be a meek individual, even though I might be treated as a freak? Yes, what are the things to accomplish today in my life that will help me maintain the meekness that grants me the deed to the earth?

1. Stop denying or excusing my human behavior. As I said, we all want people to stay out of our face and out of our space. We would also rather make excuses for failing than plans for winning. The secret to life is understanding, finding your angle, trying, repenting. That’s it. Don’t give up on truth just because you find yourself the only one on your block who’s chasing it.

2. You cannot be a conservative or a liberal and be meek. Both camps demand that you reject meekness from time to time to attack the other side. Neither conservatives nor liberals are either my friends or my enemies. They are just people who like to clump together and find comfort in numbers. I don’t require that. I believe that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” translates more efficiently as “NoOne is better than anyone else.” And believe you me, that statement separates the men from the boys.

3. Silence should be the natural state when we don’t know what we’re talking about. Americans are so afraid to be without an opinion that we borrow them from other people. This is how bad ideas get started and are sustained. If I don’t know how to help a situation, I refuse to have an opinion on it. It’s useless. I am here to edify, not critique.

4. And finally, loneliness is underrated. Even though we portray being lonely as a negative, most of us will admit that we’ve made some of our better decisions in a quiet room by ourselves. When I hear yelling, I exit. When I hear doctrines being espoused as truth, I quietly slip away. And when people are sure they are right, I am sure they are wrong. There’s a time to be lonely–because in that solitude, we once again honor the notion that we are not alone, our feelings are not superior and there are others who live on this globe with us.

Be careful. There is a campaign by both conservatives and liberals to make the American populace feisty and angry. It has never worked before and this new incarnation will also end up dead on arrival. Meekness is an inclination which leads to an action, insisting that we love our neighbor as ourselves.

It may take an hour; it may take a day. It may take your lifetime.

But the meek always win.

The meek always inherit the earth.

**************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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